Men's Tennis Begins New Era with Kei Nishikori - Marin Cilic Final at 2014 US Open - UBITENNIS
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Men's Tennis Begins New Era with Kei Nishikori – Marin Cilic Final at 2014 US Open

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TENNIS US OPEN – Up at the Stadium, they said farewell to Derek Jeter on Sunday, gave the Yankee shortstop of 20 years his special day. 24 hours earlier and a few miles away, we said goodbye to an era in tennis. So long to a Grand Slam men’s final which had Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray. So long to what we knew. So long to what we expected. Art Spander for bleacherreport.com

 

US Open: All the interviews, results, draws and OoP

Up at the Stadium, they said farewell to Derek Jeter on Sunday, gave the Yankee shortstop of 20 years his special day, a couple of weeks before retirement. Twenty-four hours earlier and a few miles away, across the East River, we said goodbye to an era in tennis.

So long to a Grand Slam men’s final which had Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray. So long to what we knew. So long to what we expected.

On Monday, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic meet for the U.S. Open Men’s Singles Championship. It’s the first time in 38 majors without one of the Big Four. It will not be the last time.

A new shortstop for the Yankees. New stars in tennis. And golf. The Tiger Woods era is done, so they say. The Rory McIlroy era has begun.

Nothing is forever. No one is forever. Especially in sports where age and injury alter the landscape all too quickly. Change, always change.

Djokovic isn’t going away, for certain. But the mystique of his superiority has taken a jolt. The hard courts of Billie Jean King Center, as well of those at the Australian Open, are his best surface. Yet he was overwhelmed by the 24-year-old Nishikori.

The way Nadal was beaten in the fourth round at Wimbledon in July by 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios. That just before 23-year-old Grigor Dimitrov whipped defending champ Andy Murray.

We sensed then a shift was coming in the men’s game. Maybe not immediately, but it was there on the horizon.

Nadal, while only 28, has bad knees and a sore wrist. How long can he last? Federer, 33, won’t reach another Slam final. Murray is the same age as the 27-year-old Djokovic, but for him, each match seems a climb up a mountain.

Already this year there was a breakthrough when Stan Wawrinka won the Australian, defeating Nadal in the final. Rafa supposedly had back troubles, but that’s part of the issue isn’t it? The older you get the more ailments you incur.

With the classic exception of Federer, who throughout a history in which he’s won a record 17 Slams has never been injured, other than suffering some back pain.

So Wawrinka won in Australia and either Nishikori or the 25-year-old Cilic will take the Open. And it’s either the best thing that can happen to the sport or if you’re doing the telecasting, the worst.

A Yankee fan stays a Yankee fan, no matter who’s at shortstop. Or in right field. But, ah, tennis is, as is golf, a sport without team loyalty, a sport requiring familiarity.

Everyone knows Nadal and Federer. And Djokovic. But who will watch Nishikori against Cilic? The transition will be difficult. It also may be exciting.

Maybe there’s an American about to work his way toward the top.

Or maybe Nishikori, a man of two cultures, from Japan but trained and living in the United States, captures a few titles and the attention of the public and becomes the Ichiro Suzuki of tennis.

“He’s been around for the last couple of years,” a magnanimous Djokovic said of Nishikori. “He’s been making a lot of success. But playing finals of a Grand Slam and now fighting for a title is definitely something different.”

And something different is about to take over tennis, something new. Wham, wham, wham. Three aces by Cilic to begin the final set against Federer. Wham, wham, wham, the explosion throughout the sport.

“You saw everything,” affirmed Cilic’s coach, Goran Ivanisevic, a former Wimbledon champion. “When you give lessons of tennis to Roger Federer, it means you’re amazing. That’s too good.”

The Federer fans think that’s too bad. Their man is nearer to the end of his wonderful career than the beginning. It was 2001 when a little known Federer surprised six-time champion Pete Sampras at Wimbledon. Pete’s time was about to become Roger’s time.

Now Roger’s time is ebbing away. Who steps up? Who grabs the brass ring? Who gets his own logo, as Federer, the interlocking “RF,” on his hats? Nishikori? Cilic? Kyrgios? Dimitrov? Milos Raonic, the young Canadian. Or none of the above?

Federer in effect sneered at the thought, raised by a journalist, that the times are a changing.

“You create your stories,” was Federer’s response. “You said the same in Australia. Then we know what happened at the French Open final, Wimbledon final. But this is another chance for you guys (in the press). So you should write what you want.”

What we wrote is that the men’s game, to use a tennis term, is in a changeover. And Federer to his credit saw the benefit, even if it’s not to his advantage.

“It’s exciting for the game to have different faces from time to time,” Federer said. “It’s definitely refreshing to some extent.”

Unless you are one of the Big Four.

Article for bleacherreport.com

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Daniil Medvedev Can Improve Further After US Open Win, Says Coach

Gilles Cervara has overseen the rise of the world No.2 since 2017 and he believes there is still more to come.

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The 2021 Men's Singles Champion, Daniil Medvedev at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

The team of Daniil Medvedev are already looking into ways the Russian can improve his game less than a week after he won the US Open, according to his coach Gilles Cervara.

 

On Sunday the 25-year-old defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to claim his first-ever Grand Slam title and become the first Russian man to win a major since Marat Safin in 2005. Impressively Medvedev only dropped one set in the tournament which was against Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals.

Guiding Medvedev to glory in New York was his coach Cervara who has been working with him since 2017. The Frenchman was recognized for his work with Medvedev back in 2019 when he was named ATP coach of the Year. Speaking to Tennis Majors earlier this week, Cervara believes part of the success they have had is due to the desire to continuously improve.

“It’s huge to have won the US Open. But Daniil, me and the whole team, we are always focused on performance,” he said. “It’s a way of life, of thinking, which means that I will always be drawn to the idea of doing better, and therefore of winning the next tournament. To make this possible, I have to set up workouts to be even stronger and respond to more situations, to win even more.”

It is hard to question the approach taken by Cervara when you look at Medvedev’s results on the hardcourts. According to the ATP, the world No.2 has won 147 matches and 12 titles on the surface since 2018 which is more than any other player. The next best player is Djokovic with 115 wins and 10 titles.

Medvedev could end the year as world No.1 but it will be far from easy. He is currently more than 1300 points behind Djokovic in the standings. If he wants to overtake him he will need to win or reach the finals of key events in Indian Wells, Paris and the ATP Finals. Although it is hard to project an exact route as it is unclear as to what tournaments will be played.

“I tell myself that it involves work and improving many things on a daily basis. The team has already started to think: yes, he wins a Grand Slam, but we can see a lot of things to improve,” Cervara commented. “These things represent the concrete aspects to be deployed with a view to a potential future great result. To be number one and win other majors, you have to achieve concrete things, at work, every day.”

Just because Medvedev has won a Grand Slam doesn’t automatically mean that he will go on to dominate the Tour. 12 months ago at the US Open, it was Dominic Thiem who triumphed at the tournament. However, the Austrian admitted that he struggled over the following months after achieving one of his career goals. Thiem didn’t play in this year’s US Open due to a wrist injury.

“I don’t think that will happen to him, but if we want to use what has happened for others, then yes it is a point of attention. It’s too early to know. If that happens, we will look for solutions,” Medvedev’s mentor commented.

One of the most unique aspects of Medvedev’s game is how far he stands behind the baseline during points. In one research article conducted by UbiTennis on the 2020 ATP Finals, the average player stood 1.9 meters behind the baseline. However, Medvedev’s return position was between 4.51 and 5.51 meters. Interestingly the analysis found that the further he stood behind the more he won.

Cervara admits that initially he tried to stop Medvedev from standing so far behind the baseline but the Russian refused to do so. His initial fear was that the tennis player was opening himself up to too many angles which his opponent could use. However, he soon came to realise that this wouldn’t be the case.

“I tried to get him to return closer to the line, but he refused,” he said. “He felt that as he got closer to the line, things just stopped happening for him. I think I had the intelligence to listen to him and put myself in his shoes, not to deconstruct something that is advantageous for him thanks to his size, his eye and his playing intentions. And the stats tell us that it pays a lot.”

Medvedev is set to return to action in just over a week at the Laver Cup. So far this season he has achieved a win-loss record of 44-9.

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Top Seed Tennys Sandgren Defaulted From Match Two Games In At Challenger Event

The tennis player was on court for less than 20 minutes before the incident happened.

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Tennys Sandgren’s appearance at the Atlantic Tire Championships Challenger event in Cary was a very brief one after he was disqualified from his first round match for hitting a lines official with a ball.

 

The world No.103 was taking on Christopher Eubanks in the first round on Tuesday and got off to a promising start by breaking in the first game before working his way to a 40-30 lead in the second. However, Sandgren then landed himself in hot water after hitting a tennis ball which struck one of the court officials. At the time the American was frustrated after hitting a forehand error.

The bizarre incident wasn’t caught on camera by the tournament livestream but Sandgren gave his version of events shortly after. He said a ball thrown to him by a ball kid hit him in the genitals and after that he slapped a wayward ball towards the fence. However, that wayward ball ended up hitting the ‘tushy’ of a court official.

https://twitter.com/TennysSandgren/status/1437933892456140809

Immediately after the incident, the tournament supervisor was called to the court by the umpire. Following a brief discussion on the court, Sandgren was then disqualified from the match for an action which he later took full responsibility for.

“Just to be clear, this was all totally my fault,” he wrote on Twitter.

It is not the first time a player has been disqualified for hitting a ball which then struck an official. The most famous incident took place at last year’s US Open when Novak Djokovic was disqualified from his fourth round match after hitting a ball which hit the lineswoman in the throat. In another incident, Denis Shapovalov was disqualified from one of his Davis Cup matches after unintentionally firing a ball into the umpire’s eye.

Sandgren, who is a two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist, has experienced a disappointing 2021 season so far. The American is yet to win back-to-back matches at a tournament and has only recorded a total of eight wins overall. Since January he has fallen more than 50 places in the ATP rankings.

Full video (go to the 19-minuite mark)

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Daniil Medvedev Marks US Open Milestone With FIFA-Inspired ‘Dead Fish’ Celebration

In his own words, the new champion produced an ‘L2 + Left’ celebration after defeating Novak Djokovic in New York on Sunday.

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Daniil Medvedev reacts to winning the Men's Singles championship match at the 2021 US Open, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021 in Flushing, NY. (Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

Daniil Medvedev’s reaction to winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open wasn’t random. In fact, he has been thinking about his FIFA-inspired celebration since Wimbledon.

 

On Sunday the world No.2 defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to become only the third Russian man in history to win a major title. The triumph caused heartbreak for his opponent who was on the verge of achieving the elusive Calendar Slam which last happened on the men’s Tour back in 1968. Leading 6-4, 6-4, 5-4, Medvedev sealed victory after a Djokovic return slammed into the net. Prompting him to literally drop to the ground in a somewhat unusual way.

“Only the legends will understand, what I did after the match was a L2 + Left,” he said during the trophy presentation.

The reference was to the game FIFA with L2 + Left being the code for what is called by some as the brick fall celebration or what Medvedev describes as ‘dead fish.’ When a player would just drop to the ground on his side after scoring a goal.

“When I was running through [the draw at] Wimbledon… I was really confident about my game. I think it was one night, you know, you cannot fall asleep. Five, 10 minutes you have crazy thoughts, like every other person,” he said.
“I was like, OK, if I’m going to win Wimbledon, imagine I win it against Novak or whatever. To not celebrate is going to be too boring, because I do it all the time. I need to do something, but I want to make it special.”

Medvedev’s planned celebration was no secret with him openly speaking with others in the locker room leading up to the US Open. No names of who he spoke to were mentioned by the Russian who says his peers described the idea as ‘legendary.’

“I like to play FIFA. I like to play PlayStation. It’s called the dead fish celebration. If you know your opponent when you play FIFA, many times you’re going to do this. You’re going to score a goal, you’re up 5-0, you do this one,” he continued.
“Yeah, I talked to the guys in the locker [room], they’re young guys, super chill guys. They play FIFA. They were like, ‘That’s legendary’. Everybody who I saw who plays FIFA thinks that’s legendary. That’s how I wanted to make it… It’s not easy to make it on hard courts. I got hurt a little bit, but I’m happy I made it legendary for myself.”

It certainly was legendary from Medvedev.

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